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06.05.20211919 views

Napoleon Bonaparte's impact on Switzerland

The legacy of Napoleon, who invaded Switzerland in the late 18th century.

To mark the 200th anniversary of Napoleon's death, Swiss Public Television SRF takes a closer look at the changes he wrought in Switzerland, as he plowed his way across Europe with the French Imperial Army. When French troops moved in to Switzerland in 1798, the 13 old cantons and cities ruled or had alliances with other parts of the country. Due to Napoleon's intervention, the once powerful cantons had to give up their sovereignty in favour of a central government. This led to fighting between advocates of federalism and supporters of the ruling central state. In 1803, Napoleon invited deputies from the quarreling Swiss parties to Paris, where he came up with a compromise: the Act of Mediation, which made all cantons equal, with their own constitutions. It was the birth of modern federalism.

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